Pasta with Fresh Tomato, Green Olive Sauce; the watermelon

Another recipe that I’ve been making forever.

When we lived in MN I used to do the prep work on Sat. or Sun. afternoon, including cooking the pasta (but kept separately). Then we’d hit the links and play 18 holes of golf. When we got home it was a quick shower and a Gin & Tonic to relax. As the sun set I’d combine the pasta and sauce while mon mari grilled some lamb chops…. A perfect summer day.

This uses the best of the summer garden: fresh tomatoes and fragrant herbs.  6 – 8 hours is the perfect time for the sauce to blend flavors. The olives tend to loose flavor after a day, so I don’t plan leftovers.

As you may notice, I used 3 different colors of tomato – yellow, red and purple.

As I posted a few days ago – peeling tomatoes is easy: Bring a medium pan 3/4’s full of water to a boil on high heat.  Drop tomatoes in for 30 seconds – start timing immediately.  Remove tomatoes and drop into cold water.  Peel them with a knife or your fingers. Chop and remove core if needed.

The recipe, Pasta with Fresh Tomato & Green Olive Sauce, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Tomato & Olive Pasta Salad.

On another summer note…. I bought a watermelon.

I haven’t had watermelon for 20 years…. Not since we packed our worldly goods and moved across the pond.

There are two, equally good reasons for this sad situation:

First, and easiest is that it’s only been available in recent years. Like sweet corn and pumpkins it just wasn’t seen here 20 or even 10 years ago. And if it was it was considered pig food…..

Second, and the truly important reason, is that I grew up in the Midwest. To be specific, I spent my childhood near a place referred to as ‘the Prairie’, aka ‘Sand Prairie’.

The prairie was a stretch of sandy soil that went, roughly, from Kellogg, Minnesota down to the Mississippi River.

The best melons in the world grew on Sand Prairie.


The pick-up trucks would be in every small town all season long, loaded over the top with melons in the morning; empty by noon. People drove from all over,100 – 150 miles away to buy prairie melons.

There were watermelons of all shapes and sizes, as well as cantaloupe and honeydew.

I should mention that there were other pick-up trucks filled to the gills with sweet corn and tomatoes but it was the melons that got the attention.

My mother would always send my father ‘uptown’ to get a watermelon and he would always buy one that was too big for the refrigerator.

Which meant of course that we kids were sent outside with big slices of watermelon as she cut it down to fit.

We were never allowed to eat watermelon in the house. I mean, where would one spit the seeds?

Standard summer antics….

There was always melon in our house in summer.


Did the watermelon I bought taste as good as I remembered after 20 years?


The color was good, the texture was good, it was nicely ripe, but…..

The taste was – faint. It had all the right flavor components, but it was weak. It was as if Ferran Adria had waved his molecular gastronomy wand over it to give it the essence of watermelon without the flavor punch.

It was a memory of watermelon.

In the future I’ll stick to the local, Charentais melon (a cantaloupe) – c’est magnifique!

BTW, the 70th Annual Watermelon Festival in Kellogg is the weekend of Sept. 10.

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4 thoughts on “Pasta with Fresh Tomato, Green Olive Sauce; the watermelon”

  1. I love watermelon! Even here though the flavors have somewhat. I am pretty good at picking a good ripe melon but find that most of the good ones are not found as easily as years past. Living where I do I am lucky to Hempstead melons to choose. This year ate tasty yellow watermelon. The yellow ones I have bought have always fallen short good but the ones that come from farmer are always perfect.

  2. I grew up hating watermelon in Australia as it was so dreary and watery but have done a 360 living here in Morocco . Its a whole different fruit, lush and vibrant and full of flavour and I love it now.

  3. I have resisted buying watermelons here because I am also used to very good flavourful ones during the summer in southern Africa. The small seedless varieties fall far short of the large ones with black seeds. As a child, half the fun was spitting out the seeds and it was even better eating it in your swimming costume so you didn’t have to worry about the juice dripping on to clothes! The same applied to mangoes only with those you had to wash off the juice immediately to prevent getting a rash.

  4. gayle, I don’t know of any grown locally. We have small cantaloupes locally but most other melons come from Spain. Watermelon is new (and not very good)

    kate – when it’s good it’s wonderful 😉

    Gill, proper seed spitting is an art. Don’t bother with them here lol

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